Praises and Complaints

Will you be cutting the (cable) cord this year?


About a month ago, I read this article in the Huffington Post about some 200 000 Canadian households possibly cancelling their cable this year. This has led me to reexamine my own relationship with a certain Blue Company.

After my mom cancelled CNN, along went a bunch of other channels like CP24, TLC, and a few others. Apparently, Bell groups channels in “packages”, so you can’t just order/cancel 1 channel. So what I’m now left with is quite pathetic!

I honestly don’t know why cable companies offer soo many number of channels, when they literally show the same thing: CTV (I miss CP24!), crappy talk shows mid-day, and a bad movie of the week about killer wasps in the evening. 🙁 I wish that they would offer better quality programming as opposed to quantity of channels with nothing on.

Sadly enough, I’m held hostage by PVR and the Galaxie music channels. The majority of my entertainment can be found online.

What about your household, do you have cable, and if so, any plans to cut the cord in ’12?


Happy Birthday Betty White!


betty_white

While I don’t write much about the stars who can’t resist a little Betty White!  Tomorrow January 17th Betty White turns 90 years old!  She is such an amazing accomplished woman.  Her passion for animals shows what a class act this woman is. Betty’s been in so many movies and shows I can’t even begin to credit them all. Click here for Betty White’s list of credits.

What show/movie is your favourite (so far?)

Mine has to be Golden Girls. I even watched it as a young child and loved her wit, charm and class.

Happy Birthday Betty White! xoxo


1000 full-colour Business Cards for $25 at @Print


@Print Corporation

For the month of November, you can get 1000 full-colour business cards (1-sided only) for just $25 from @Print Corporation. If you need double-sided cards, the price is just $40. This is a Canadian company with an online ordering interface–just upload your image or use the tool to make simple cards online. They have templates available if you aren’t artistically inclined.

I ordered these myself, and the cards came on the day they were promised, in perfect condition on very nice glossy paper stock. Highly recommended.


Do you Etsy?


il_570xn_273469048

If you are thinking to yourself right now ‘what’s Etsy?’ then I promise you you are missing out!!

Etsy is a fantastic free online marketplace where you can Buy/Sell items in the following categories:

  • Vintage
  • Handmade
  • Supplies

What does that mean for you the consumer? It means you’ll have hundreds of thousands of kitschy, adorable, funky, artsy items to browse and buy. I mean, I could literally spend days without sleeping on Etsy.

Click here to check out Etsy

Post some of the links to your favorite items in the comments section!

*crayon art found here


What’s your pillow profile?


Recently, I made the mistake of buying a new pillow for my bf as a birthday gift. He was complaining about his current pillow which I noticed had ripped at the seam. The polyfill was coming out, making the pillow very lumpy and uncomfortable.

(The pillow itself wasn’t expensive, as I purchased it in the States, but I was a bit disappointed about the quality since I got it only 1-1.5years ago. Not long ago.)

Anyway, the replacement pillow that I purchased was a buckwheat pillow that is traditionally Japanese, stuffed with buckwheat hulls. Unlike conventional pillows, the hulls are supposed to be ergonomic and not to heat up like other materials.

Despite my best intentions, the pillow was rejected within a couple of minutes because it was “too hard”. Yes, even though there’s a zipper on the side so that you can remove some of the stuffing.

Lesson Learned: Never buy someone else a pillow as it’s something that’s a personal preference!

So this past weekend, we went to find a replacement for the replacement and I was completely overwhelmed with all the pillow options out there: back/side-sleeper, soft/firm, down/polyester/the newer Tempur?

At some point of the shopping, I just sat on a fake bed, letting my bf make his own decision. There was no way that I was spending any more energy on this search!

So what’s your pillow profile? What kind of filling do you prefer? And how long do you switch your pillows out?


Have you talked your way out of a speeding ticket??


I find it pretty ironic that after living all my life in the same city, I have NEVER gotten a speeding ticket here. However, on that occasion that I do decide to venture downtown…BAM…speeding ticket central! It’s like one, giant welcome sign: Welcome to Toronto, here’s a ticket!

It’s pretty obvious what city is strapped for cash, but I digress.

Over the weekend, I got my second speeding ticket ever. I was exiting a long ramp, with multiple exits, cutting around a car with a shaky rear bike rack, when a cop motioned me to the shoulder. I had been a victim of a speed trap! 🙁

After the whole licence, registration, insurance spiel, the cop retreated back to his car I was soo livid since come Dec./Jan. my record will be wiped completely clean of my last speeding ticket. So when the officer re-approached my car, I had decided that I was going to put my pride aside and get my acting chops together. I was going to plead with him.

(Did you know?: Once you receive a speeding ticket, the next time your insurance is up for renewal, your rate goes up…for 3 whole years!!! So on top of wasting time going to court, paying your ticket + fees, you are ultimately being penalised for 3 years. Someone please tell me how this is fair! I understand if your rates shoots up as a result of a collision that is your fault, but we’re talking about a speeding ticket here.)

After asking if the officer would give me a break, he said aggressively, “No…I have already written it out!” So I’m not sure if this meant that I had a chance to plead my case with him before he officially logged the offence.

I know that talking your way out of a ticket is not an urban myth as my sister would do it all. the. time. So if you have experience in this field, how did you get out of a speeding ticket?

P.S. I cannot cry on cue!


Saran Wrap Canada. Are you gone?


saran

I love the brand Saran wrap.  It’s the only cling wrap that I find does it’s job proper and “clings” to things.  Only problem is I haven’t been able to find it for months.  I’m dead serious. I’ve checked Zehrs, Foodland, Walmart, Zellers, Giant Tiger and other random store I’ve come across.  I cannot find it anywhere.  Not only can I not find it but there is no spot even for it.  I’m sure there has to be old stock at some stores, but is it discontinued?  Is this something I can only get in the USA now?


Extreme Couponing Season 2 Starts. Will You Be Watching Canada?


extreme_couponing_canada

Extreme Couponing season 2 starts!  Will you be watching? To be honest I didn’t even have much interest in season 1.  A lot of it seems to be too extreme or only be aired for sheer shock value.  I believe you can extreme coupon in Canada withougt being shady like some of these “characters”

Click here if you want a sneak peek of season 2


What Is Good Customer Service?


 

decaf

Recently, I’ve had soo much bad customer service that they’ve literally eclipsed any of my positive experiences. In fact, I’m beginning to think that good customer service is going the way of Blockbuster! 🙁

(Part of the reason which contributes to bad customer service is that many people in retail just seem to HATE their jobs. And rightfully so, as they are most likely overqualified, underpaid, and overworked.)

Retail, especially dealing with weirdos, rude people, and slobs, is just not fun. I should know because I have over 10 years experience in retail. And although it’s nothing to be proud about, one valuable thing that I’ve taken away is that I KNOW Good Vs. Bad Customer Service. Furthermore, I know what I’m entitled to as a customer.

Here are some signs that you are getting good customer service:

1. A Greeting. Whether it’s as soon as you walk into a store OR sometime while you’re in the store, a sales associate should acknowledge your presence. A smile will suffice.

2. Good Manners. I wasn’t going to mention this because it’s pretty obvious, but sometimes the sales staff is as rude as some customers. A pleasant demeanor + Ps+Qs goes a long way!

3. “Do you need any help?” This should happen if it seems as though you’re looking for something. While folding jeans, a salesgirl recently asked, in a monotone voice, if I needed help…without even glancing up at me. Sorry, but that doesn’t count!

4. Fitting Room Follow-up. If you’ve made it as far as the fitting room of a clothing store, chances are good that you’re serious about spending cash. So how difficult is it to check-up on customers, ask if they need another size, or simply give your opinion on how something looks on them?

***BONUS POINTS***
5. Know Your Needs, Before You Say Anything. If you’re walking around with an armful of clothing and a staff member offers you a shopping cart, that is a total bonus! It’s sort of like having your glass refilled with water at a restaurant…before you even have to ask. 🙂

I can provide a list of things that make for bad customer service, but let’s focus on the positive, shall we?


Let’s SAVE At The Ex!



Depending on how you look at it, un/fortunately, the opening of The Ex marks the end of the Summer. It’s an unfortunate sign to me because it means that Old Man Winter, and all his nasty baggage, is just ’round the corner! 🙁

Following an annual family tradition of visiting The Ex, my sisters, nephew, and I decided to revisit that childhood memory. I was blown away at how different AND expensive everything has become. For some reason, I remember The Ex being a relatively inexpensive way to spend the day, but man was I wrong!

(General Admission is $16 which doesn’t sound bad, but since they wouldn’t honour my mom’s corporate rate, I wasn’t able to purchase tickets for $11. Already, this got my day off on the wrong foot! The run ’round that I was given by the staff also left a bad taste in my mouth.)

After spending the entire day there, here are some ways to try and save some money if you plan to visit The Ex:

1. Corporate Rate. If you or anyone in your family qualifies for a Corporate Rate, find out exactly the number of people who will be attending and purchase the tickets ONLINE. As I discovered the hard way, they do not sell discounted tickets at the event. If you are unable to pin down exact numbers, buy an extra ticket – you can always sell it to a stranger in-line.  Tickets are non-refundable.

2.  Bring Cash. I didn’t have time to stop at the bank and didn’t think it would be a problem to use debit or credit card, after all I was in the city. However, aside from the main box office, I did not see any debit machines at the concession stands. The warehouse “stores” may accept these forms of payment, but not where food is purchased and definitely not for the midway games. If you have no cash, there are a bunch of umarked ATM machines, but I avoid those at all costs!

3. Pack Some Food. Unlike more theme parks, e.g. Wild Water Kingdom, the staff at The Ex do not have a “No outside food” policy.  Actually, no one even inspected my purse.  So take advantage of this and pack some snacks or even sandwiches!

4. Bring your water bottle. My sister pointed out these handy-dandy water fountains set-up specifically to fill your water bottle! (They weren’t as rampant as the unmarked ATMs, but I did notice a couple on my rounds.) Since I brought my water bobble with me, this was really handy – not to mention saving me from shelling out upwards of $3 for a bottle of water. 🙂

5. Share, share, share at The Food Building. There is no doubt, at least in my eyes, that The Food Building is still the #1 draw at The Ex! Neither the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Burger nor the Fried Cola/Butter/Koolaid, etc. interests me, but what I do like is seeing all the variety of food that’s under one roof…the infamous, Food Building!

We didn’t pre-plan things, but my sisters and I split 1 meal for lunch! We thought that it would be a good way to try more than one thing. Aside from the 99¢ Spaghetti, most of the concession items appeared to be 2-3 portions…easily!

6. Don’t play the midway games or go on any of the rides. I realise that this tip may seem “extreme” to some of you, but this is how my mom, as the sole breadwinner, was able to take us to places like The Ex. The first time we were old enough to speak, we may have asked if we could play a game or go on the rides, but after saying “No” the first time, we never asked in subsequent years.  At $20/22 tickets, at an average of 4-6 tickets/ride, they aren’t cheap! And if you have more than one child, it’s even more expensive.

This option may not be for everyone, but if you’re really strapped for cash, it’s definitely an option! If you and your spouse can afford to, but all means, buy the ride tickets, play the midway games. However, there are other ways to have fun at The Ex without spending additional cash, e.g. Petting Zoo, The Farm, live music, people watching, just walking around, etc.

7. Skip The Ex and head to the park! Despite thinking that it’s overrated and overpriced, I still had a good time bonding with my family. However, if money is a real concern which I can totally sympathise with, especially for multi-children families, skip The Ex entirely as it does add up.

I’m sure that your family can bond by doing something less costly like a picnic at the park/beach or a day downtown or at Niagara Falls. Shopping for school supplies and clothing may not constitute as a “bonding activity”, but your money is probably better spent doing that if you had to decide between The Ex Vs. A Necessity.

If you’re set on visiting The Ex, consider going after 5pm on Monday – Thursday as admission is only $5.  And on a rare occasion, sometimes there’s a “Free Admission” day too.


Wild Water Kingdom: No Tube, No Fun!



When I arrived at Wild Water Kingdom (WWK) after 3pm to take advantage of their “Twilight Discount Rate”, I thought I was doing WWK on-the-cheap. However, after I arrived, it was a completely different story.

Admission after 3pm was ~$20. (Not too bad considering that I can’t do a water park for longer than a few hours.) Keep in mind that the park closes at 7pm on a Saturday night.

Parking was $10/car and since it’s in the middle of nowhere, the fee is basically mandatory.

Renting a locker was another $5 – a $10 deposit with a $5 refund upon return of the key. Take note of the “we are not responsible for any lost or stolen items” on the sign where you rent the key. Gee, that really gives me confidence that my valuables will be kept safe in your locker!

And the last expense was $5 to rent an inflatable tube – $8 deposit with a $3 refund upon return of the tube.

So in summary, here’s the breakdown – excluding food/drinks at the park: $20 (admission) + $10 (parking)+ $5 (locker) + $5 (tube) = $40!!! And here I was thinking that $20 was going to cover an afternoon of fun in the sun. 🙁

(I did manage to save a bit of money by going with 2 other people, so we split the cost of the parking/locker.)

I found the expense of the inflatable tube the most annoying of all because for certain things like the Lazy River and the Wave Pool, the tube definitely enhances the experience. The river’s not exactly “lazy” if I crab walk the entire lap! And how fun is the Wave Pool when I’m constantly being bumped by other people’s inflatable tubes, kicked in the head by feet, and swallowing floating bandages and stray hairs while “jumping” the waves??!!

Aside from those attractions, there were also some water slides that required the inflatable tube.  There were a few courtesy tubes so if you don’t rent, you basically had to wait ’til one was available, i.e. for the lifeguard to chase someone down and ask them to hand over the free tube for others waiting.

I was told that there were also free tubes for the Lazy River, but I saw less than a handful of them. And since there wasn’t anyone monitoring those tubes, you can take a catnap on the tube while it slooowly does one lap upon another. And before I could grab the 1 unoccupied tube that I did see, one lady pulled it right out of the water so she could use it as a hemorrhoid doughnut!

Perhaps if the park was better maintained &/or had some new upgrades, I wouldn’t be as irked as I was with all these hidden costs.  So maybe with free grounds admission, the water park at Ontario Place would be a better deal?


Scooters: Here, There, Everywhere!


scoot

(Or rather Limited-Speed Motorcycles, LSM, according to the Ministry of Transportation.)

With gas on the rise, mopeds have become increasingly popular. This popularity is especially noticeable while driving within the city. It’s literally Cars Vs. Bikes, Scooters, Jaywalkers, and sometimes, even electric wheelchairs!

To add to the tension, currently in Toronto, cyclists’ space is shrinking, with bike lanes are being axed, resulting in even less space for these greener, alternatives methods of transportation. Thanks, Rob Ford!

With the increased use of LSMs, there doesn’t seem to be any clear-cut rules as I’ve seen them both in the bike lanes as well as the road with vehicles.

(In the suburbs, one scooter whizzed right by me, helmets on and everything, while I was walking…on the sidewalk!!!)

According to the Ministry of Transportation, LSMs, should be driven as a vehicle and not on the bike lanes. Cyclists, I’m sure that this is welcomed news as it’s one less thing for you to deal with! And Motorists, if only these LSMs weren’t as limited in their speed!

One last group that I wanted to address, anyone operating Electric Wheelchairs. For the most part, you follow the rules, travelling on the sidewalks. However, for that one gentleman in my area who likes to tempt fate, please stay off the bike lane!


Hot out? Please leave pets at home.



This photo is quite provocative, but I think it sends a clear message that a car, during the Summer, is no place for your pet!

According to my local Animal Services, the police is the proper agency to report pets that are left unattended in hot cars. Animal Services don’t have the authority to gain access into vehicles. Animal Services will only show up if the pet is in distress.

Would you leave your baby, alone in your car while you shopped? So this Summer, especially since it’s going to be a particularly hot one, please leave your pets at home!


The Bottled Water Dilemma



Recently, I freaked out on my bf after he cracked open a plastic water bottle…at my house. Yes, I did purchase the case, but it was solely meant for a road trip AND other “emergencies”.

Suffice to say, I hate the idea of bottled water. When did drinking tap water become uncool or unsafe for that matter? I grew up drinking tap water and the last I checked, I didn’t sprout an extra limb! So how did bottled water become the latest rage??

(If this post was about exploring how bottled water became popularised, the quick answers would be FEAR and CONVENIENCE. Instead, I want to talk about the alternatives.)

To steer away from bottled water, I try to drink water that has been previously boiled from a kettle. On the go, I’ll use a stainless steel canteen, filled with boiled water OR cooler water at work. <– I hope that’s filtered!

Lately though, I’ve gotten lazy to wash/air-dry the canteen. In addition, I’ve dropped it a few times, so it’s all dented, and doesn’t stand up properly. Furthermore, the plastic around the lid has cracked, so it’s not going to last much longer.

Recently, I discovered a relatively inexpensive solution, the water bobble! Designed by a Canadian, and probably one of the most famous industrial designers, Karim Rashid, the water bobble looks like a plastic water bottle, but it comes with a colourful spout that doubles as a carbon filter.

I’ve been using the bobble for about 2 weeks now and here’s my pro/con list:

PRO
– Unlike boiling water, the bobble can be used instantly…just fill it with water straight from the tap. Yeah, I can finally drink cold water without hours of refrigeration!
– Makes me drink more water
– Cheaper, more green than bottled water
– 1 filter = 300 water bottles
– BPA-free
– Lightweight
– Doesn’t leak
– Great for travelling, especially at the airport. Arrive with it empty, fill at the water fountain after customs

CON
– Probably not a good idea to use hot water or water enhancers such as slices of fruit, green tea with this product
– 3 sucks = 1 gulp for me. The suction system doesn’t dispense enough water…without a lot of effort!
– The packaging states, “Do not use where water is microbiologically unsafe or of unknown quality”, so it’s no miracle worker!
– Uncertainty of when to replace filter. Do I just guestimate how many times it’s been used before buying a new one?
– Bottle and filter (~$7) do eventually have to be replaced at a cost

The pros definitely outweigh the cons, so the bobble is a good addition to any lifestyle!

How do you drink your water?


GPS: Update OR Buy New?


You’ve read the news stories about people being misguided by their GPS system, ending up in the middle of nowhere, fending for their lives by eating melted snow and berries off trees. Well, that sort of happened to me, not in the Survivor-sense, but more of the frustrating-whadda-waste-of-time way!

This weekend, during a day-trip to Buffalo, I came prepared with the addresses of all the malls, grocery stores, and restaurants that I wanted to stop at. Furthermore, to save time, I pre-programmed all these addies into my Garmin. So everything should be easy-breezy, right? WRONG!

On the way to Walden Galleria, the exit to the mall was closed, due to construction. So there was a detour which was clearly marked, unlike some of its Canadian counterparts. Anyway, I followed the GPS’ instructions and after various highways/residential streets we were finally at the mall. The trip seemed roundabout, taking longer than it should’ve taken!

In between stops, I had the same feeling: Is this really the quickest route possible? Why is this thing taking me on/off the highway, through a neighbourhood, and then back onto the highway? Either Buffalo has the worst city planning or Garmin was testing my patience…big-time!

On the way back home, even after several restarts, the GPS was stating that it would take us 12 hours to get home! Sheer panic set in and the driver, pulled over at the nearest gas station, in which I jumped out of the car and asked for the directions to the border. Sure enough, it was in the complete opposite direction than what Garmin was telling us.

After seeing the price tag of $49.99, I hadn’t updated the maps in my GPS. (Has anyone updated their GPS, yielding better results?) So was this the reason why I was being mislead? Or should I just buy a new system, for just over $100?


Page 2 of 51234...Last »


  • RSS Hot Canada Deals




  • Recent Comments

  • Did You Know?

    Smart Canucks is Canada's first Canadian shopping deals blog and has been operating since 2006!

  • Join Mailing List

    Pages

    Categories

    Archives

    Find Deals by Brand!